Intro to Matching
Handbook Search

Intro to Matching

Basic Gene Crossing
Every gene is considered important and should be evaluated when hypomating the stallion and mare. As in real life, each horse on FFH has 2 alleles (X or x) in each gene and will pass either of those alleles to the foal. In other words, if a horse has an Xx gene it could pass X or x, but a horse with an XX gene can only pass X. (Genetic anomalies may change these rules.) The foal can inherit a combination of alleles that may be better or worse than either or both parents - if both parents are Xx the foal could inherit xx. This explains how a Good x Good cross can still result in a Poor (or Outstanding).

You usually want to look for a stallion who improves your mare's genetic weaknesses or flaws to aim for a foal who is equal to or better than your mare. In other words, if your mare has Fair Conformation, you could improve upon her by breeding her to a stallion with Excellent or Outstanding Conformation. The exception to this rule is when crossing distance and surface, where you want to breed like to like.

If this sounds a little confusing, don't worry! Farther down the page you'll find some charts to help make matching a breeze.
Performance Genes
Conformation determines the initial injury Risk of a horse, though it is somewhat randomized and a foal can inherit better or worse Risk than Conformation may indicate. Conformation also affects your horse's maximum Potential. Excellent and Outstanding Conformation boost stats Fair and Poor will lower stats. A Good Conformation gene is neutral and has no impact on Potential.
A horse with higher Development will mature physically faster, impacting the Maturity trait and making it safer to race them at a young age. A horse with bad Development will take a lot longer to reach 100% Maturity and also contributes to negative genetic anomalies. Finally, Development determines how likely a horse will gain stats during Maintenance trainings.
Health corresponds directly to the Longevity a horse is born with. Horses who are healthier can have longer careers and start with much higher Longevity> Horses with health problems may only be able to withstand the physical stress of a few races. Lower Health can also lead to negative genetic anomalies and/or higher stillborn chances.
Intelligence influences how quickly a horse learns. A horse with higher Intelligence improves stats faster, while a horse with lower Intelligence may take much longer to max their stats. Intelligence also influences Travel - horses with higher Intelligence tend to handle traveling better.
Temperament determines a horse's maximum Consistency. Horses who have better Temperament will be more consistent in races, while horses with poor attitudes will tend to have a lot of ups and downs. Temperament also impacts how easily horses successfully complete Saddle Training and maintain Morale from week to week.
Genotype Search
Mare Matching
Genotype Search is a fantastic tool to use to find stallions for your mare(s). You can go to Genosearch found under Breeding. The very top of genosearch gives you the option to search for Retired or All; select Retired to pull up all current retired (non-racing) stallions. You can search for specific breeds using the drop-down tab. If you are new to breeding it is suggested you look for stallions that already have SIP (Stallion Incentive Program), although Freshmen may be easier on your budget. You will also be better off looking for A or B Graded stallions, especially if breeding to Freshmen, until you get more comfortable researching individual stallions and pedigrees.

As a reminder, you should match distances and surfaces a bit differently than other genes. Rather than trying to improve your mare's flaws, you need to focus on breeding like to like. In other words, breed your mare to a stallion who has similar distance and surface preferences as her. The charts below serve as a reminder for distance and surface crossing.

Distance Crossing Recommendations
Mare's Aptitude Minimum Match
Speed-Dominant Excellent Speed
Stamina-Dominant Excellent Stamina
Intermediate Outstanding Speed or Stamina
Versatile Good Speed and Stamina
Excellent Speed or Stamina

Surface/Gait Crossing Recommendations
Mare's Aptitude Minimum Match
Stronger Dirt/Sand/Trot Strong (XX) Dirt/Sand/Trot
Stronger Turf/Pace Strong (XX) Turf/Pace
No Surface Strong (XX) Dirt/Sand/Trot or Turf/Pace
& ideally Mod/Strong for the opposite
Dual Mod (Xx) Dirt/Sand/Trot and Turf/Pace
Strong (SS) Dirt/Sand/Trot or Turf/Pace

Next you'll be able to input choices for most other genes. The chart below is is an example of what you should be searching for when matching Performance Genes and Heritage. If you can't see Heritage, you should always set it to a minimum of Good or Excellent. This chart also loosely applies to Stat Genes, although you cannot search for them specifically and it's not as important to ensure they're all well-matched. Just keep an eye on Stat Genes when hypomating to ensure there's not a lot of undesirable crosses.

If your mare has a Genetic Merit or seems close to it, use the (Strong) column. If your mare has many Fair and Poor genes, use the (Weak) column.

Gene Crossing Recommendations
Mare's Genes Minimum Match
Minimum Match
Fair or Poor Excellent Excellent
Good Excellent Good
Excellent Good Poor
Outstanding Fair Poor

Note: You may not be able to find an ideal match for all genes and will have to sacrifice some. Conformation can significantly impact potential, so it should generally be the last gene you sacrifice. Intelligence and Temperament are next most important as they make horses easier to train and tend to help produce stronger racers. Development and Health are generally considered the least important of the Performance Genes and are often the first sacrificed.

Reverse Matching
Genotype Search can also be used to find mares for stallions. This searches for fillies and mares within your own barn that are both retired and in training. To do this, much like with matching a mare, you can go to Genosearch found under Breeding.

Just like the mare matching above, you'll want to focus on finding mares who are a good match - they should have similar distance/surface and complimentary Performance Genes and Heritage.
Hypomating is looking at the combination of two parents' genes to determine what your future foal could look like genetically. You can find the Hypomating page under the Breeding tab. Once there, you can select any pair of your own horses or input an ID# to match to a horse you don't own.

If you've followed the guidelines above for a Genotype Search, your hypomate results should simply confirm a strong match. Even if you're confident in your search, it's important to hypomate every cross to ensure you didn't miss anything important. It's also a great way to compare several stallions to narrow down which one is best for your mare.

The easiest way to glance through the results on a Hypomate page is to look at colors. For distance and surface you should see green on both sides for either Speed or Stamina and one surface/gait. For all other genes, you're looking for a stallion who is primarily green anywhere your mare has red. You should always avoid crossing red to red - if you're seeing this in a hypomate it might indicate your search was set up wrong.
Tips to Remember
If this is your first year breeding (or if you still feel like you need some guidance), you would likely benefit from reading and following the Beginner's Stress-Less Guide to Breeding document.

After sending a breeding request, wait patiently! It can take anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks to get a response, depending on when the request is sent. The earlier you send requests, the longer you can expect to wait for a response. Many stud owners don't go through requests until mid-February! If it's after March and you haven't heard anything in over a week, you may politely send a message to check in. However, avoid repeatedly harassing stud owners, especially early in the season when they may have hundreds of requests to sort through.

If you are breeding Standardbreds, Quarter Horses, or Paint Horses, it is considered acceptable to make certain matches genetically that aren’t acceptable in TBs or GBs, due to the smaller gene pool in these breeds. This applies more to STBs since QH/PH can find matches in TBs, however it is okay if the matches in these breeds aren't what would be considered perfect (or even good) in TBs or GBs. Just keep in mind that some stud owners have different criteria when accepting matches, so a match you're okay with might not be what a stud owner is looking for.

In addition, a few key things to remember are listed below.

• It is usually unwise to start matching before February.
• Pedigree/Producing Quality is always more important than genes.
• Producer Quality is not always visible on genetics page, but can be researched through a horse's pedigree. More information can be found on the Producer Quality page.
• Distance aptitude genes (Speed/Stamina) are very important!
• If a mare is really bad, look to improve Conformation and Heritage first.
• Negative Anomalies may be caused by bad Health and Development genes as well as low stallion condition, high pregnancy risk, and IxV bloodline crosses.
• Good x Good cross can still result in a Poor.
• In a perfect situation, match every F/P Performance and Stat gene with E or higher.
• Breeding to Horse Trader Stallions comes with $250,000 bonus.
Freshmen stallions have a 30% chance to not use a breeding pass.
Never cross I x V bloodlines!
Never cross two horses that both have a Silver (ZZ/Zz) gene.
Never cross two horses that both have a Champagne (CH/Ch) gene.

As many people choose to cross Thoroughbreds, Quarter Horses, and Paint Horses, the chart below provides a guideline of what breed the resulting foal will be. Crossbreeding can restrict the offspring from series races, but otherwise will not currently affect the foals in any other way. Plus, crossbred foals can participate in series through several methods, which includes purifying them, earning the required amount of points in races, or gelding.

Cross Breeding Chart